Body composition is an important measure of health and fitness for athletes and general people.
Your body is composed of many different substances which are necessary for you to function.
The substances include fat, water, carbohydrate, protein, minerals and vitamins.
Although fat is an essential part of body composition which provides energy for athletics for longer duration, insulation against cold temperatures, and protects important organs, it is considered as undesirable element that must be eliminated at any cost.
Too much fat is linked to heart disease and diabetes. The fatness measurement is performed to determine the risk of heart diseases and obesity related illnesses.
The measurement can be done by body mass index (BMI). The risk of heart disease can be reduced by losing weight successfully.
Methods to find body composition:
Body composition can be changed by following diet and training. But, it requires consistent approach and the change can be easily reversed if old habits are revisited.
There are different ways to find out the body composition, all of which measure your overall body mass. The methods include:
Hydrostatic weighing: It requires tank as it measures under water. The underwater weight and dry weight comparison is made and residual volume of air in the lungs is taken into account, which affects buoyancy.
As fat is less dense than other tissues in the body, it floats more easily. The more the fat, there will be greater difference between dry and wet weights. This is an accurate method but it is time consuming and not readily available.
Bioelectrical impedance analysis: The level of resistance of current through the body is measured with this method. As water conducts electric current, the tissues with high levels of water conduct electricity better than those with lower levels.
By the impedance determination to electric flow, percentage of body fat is estimated. It is accurate, but affected by level of hydration.
Skinfold callipers: The levels of subcutaneous fat at different sites around the body are measured with skinfold callipers. The sites commonly used are biceps, triceps, thigh, subscapular and suprailiac.
The fat is pinched away from the body and the callipers are placed between the base and apex of the fold from the site and the tester measures it. The sum of skinfolds is entered into an equation and body fat percentage is obtained.
Managing your body composition:
There are many behavioral factors and behavioral changes that can control body composition. A change of body composition is not that simple and depends on current level of training.
There is no escaping from diet to shed body fat. Calorie intake should be reduced to reduce body fat.
Body composition is measured by calculating sum of your skinfold measurement from 4 to 5 sites around your body. With consistent approach to body composition monitoring and with appropriate training, fat gain can be prevented.
It helps to maintain a healthy body composition. When you know your body composition, you can plan an exercise program and can set sensible fitness goals.